Spring Lake Park High School FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) students have claimed the gold at national conferences before, but never has anyone from SLP scored 100 points at the organization’s leadership skills competition.
Until now. And you can multiply that times three.
Three incoming sophomores at the high school scored gold medals and perfect scores in the junior high category (grades seven-nine) Star Events competition. Their Focus on Children presentation was delivered at the FCCLA national conference held July 7-12 in Orlando, Fla.
“Their work ethic was amazing,” said the boys’ FCCLA adviser Lori Henry last week after returning from the conference. “…All their time, hard work and effort really paid off.”
The SLP gold medal winners are Josh Anderson, Rick Osborne and Alex Pierce.
The boys received their Star Event awards July 12 at a ceremony for the Central Region States held during the national conference.
They competed with their presentation titled Take Action, with an agenda centering on healthy eating, living and the importance of exercise for children.
The boys earlier this year met four times with Park Terrace Elementary School’s K-8 Learning Ventures childcare program students.
There, the boys went so far as to dress up as fruits and vegetables, a banana, carrot and celery stick, for instance, and deliver lessons on good food choices and healthier living.
They incorporated stories, games, arts and crafts activities and puppetry. They also provided healthy snacks for the young students.
First time boys advance
This marks the first year SLP High School boys have advanced from the state level to compete in national competition.
Last school year was Osborne’s first year in FCCLA.
“When they announced that our school had won, I was just speechless,” Osborne said. “I was amazed at how much we went through. Knowing we were really freshman was neat. It was really an honor.”
For Osborne, as well as the other two boys, the best part of attending the conference was getting a chance to meet students nationwide.
Osborne said participating in the conference fostered skills that involve putting others first and helping people when needed. It championed inclusiveness. And he learned to better manage his time.
Said Anderson on learning of the gold win, “It felt pretty good. It was exciting because of all the work we put into it. It really made me feel like it was all worth while.”
Pierce enjoyed interacting with his peers on a national level. He figures being in FCCLA will help when he applies for college.
“I’m going to definitely join it for the rest of my high school career,” he said. “And if they do have it in college, I’m going to go for it.”
Practice for perfection
The boys practiced for hours to perfect their presentation. They memorized their speeches and worked on gestures and articulation at the suggestion of Henry. They practiced before school and met at each other’s homes.
Conference Star Awards competitors were judged on a display they created, presentation of information and speaking abilities.
The boys in April scored 99.6 percent for their Focus on Children project where they competed at the state conference held in Bloomington.
In addition to winning the gold, Spring Lake Park’s FCCLA for a second year in a row was named the high school winner for the organization’s Career Connection, a national honor.
The school received a plaque and a $1,000 check for its project titled Building Our Career Paths at the conference. Osborne accepted the award on behalf of the school at the business portion of the meeting.
Henry said part of the funds went toward buying a camera for the school’s chapter.
Cost for the trip per student was about $1,200. The amount included travel expenses, registration, hotel and meals.
The trip was financed by local businesses, private and organization donations. The boys also sold ice cream and candy bars in the school cafeteria during lunch time.
For Anderson, the best part of the convention was meeting so many people who wanted to help their community, “to basically make our country a better place,” he said.
The national FCCLA organization, was founded initially at a convention in Chicago, Ill., in 1945 as Future Homemakers of America.
The organization now helps young men and women become leaders by addressing important personal, family, work and societal issues through family and consumer sciences education.
Nationally, the group has more than 205,000 members. FCCLA has nearly 6,500 chapters from 50 state associations and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, according to its website.
Elyse Kaner is at [email protected]